What you need to know about: Postnatal Depression

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Ask yourself this: When was the last time you thought about how you feel? As Mental Health Week is coming up, we wanted to take the chance to remind everyone, including ourselves, that we need to take care of our emotional wellbeing. As psychologist Guy Winch puts it: We need to start practicing emotional hygiene as much as we care for our personal hygiene. Winch’s tips to better care for our mental wellbeing include paying attention to any emotional pain we experience, protecting our self-esteem and quitting negative self-talk.

We all go through tough times and with everyone being busy with work and life, it can be an easy solution to brush off certain issues, sweep them under the rug where no one can see them. Some issues, however, aren’t quite as easy to hide. We’re talking about depression. More precisely, about postnatal depression, which occurs after having a baby. Chances are most of us will know someone suffering from postnatal depression, as more than 1 in 10 women are said to be affected according to the NHS.

Postnatal depression develops gradually, so most women don’t even know they have it. Luckily, the topic has become more and more visible in the media as we start to move towards a more open vocal society. The most common symptoms of postnatal depression are:

- Often feeling sad and being in a low mood

- Difficulty creating a bond with your baby

- Not being able to sleep well at night

- Having low energy and losing interest in spending time with friends

If this feels familiar to you or you know someone struggling with these issues, speaking to your GP should be the first step in seeking out help. Your GP will be able to give you tips and techniques that can already improve your situation or connect you with a specialist. There are numerous ways to treat postnatal depression and your GP or a therapist can work with you to find the best ways for you to address it. Treatments include creating a self-help plan together with your physician suggesting lifestyle changes or attending therapy sessions. Remember: the sooner you take action, the less likely it is for you to have to take medications.

Having a baby is a life-changing experience and it is okay to struggle and take time to find yourself in your new role as a mum. In fact, partners may also be affected by it. There are many myths around postnatal depression and you might hear people say that it’s less severe than other types of depression, which is not true. It needs to be addressed just like any other mental health problem. Most importantly: Don’t wait to see if your problems will go away by themselves. Remember that you are not alone in this situation and that help is available to you. Realizing you need to take action to create change is the first step and addressing your problems will get you to a better state.


For more information, please see the following links:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/feeling-depressed-after-birth/

http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/

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